Mystery of the Ages Synopsis, Part 7: Mystery of the Kingdom of God
Jesus Christ came to Earth with one message: the gospel, or the good news, of the coming Kingdom of God. Traditional Christianity does not teach the true gospel. This world has never understood Christ’s message. The Kingdom of God is a mystery.
False definitions of God’s Kingdom abound. People say that it’s a gospel of grace, a gospel about Christ, a social gospel, a religious science, that it involves their particular religious sect, or that the Kingdom of God is comprised of all Christian denominations. You can’t prove these definitions using the Bible.
At least one prominent televangelist claims that the Kingdom of God is within human beings, quoting from Luke 17:21. That verse should read, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is [in the midst of] you,” meaning that Christ was standing among them. Christ is the King of the coming Kingdom, so the words King and Kingdom can be used interchangeably.
No man can define the Kingdom of God unless he receives that understanding from God, from diligent Bible study. How can people be members of God’s Kingdom if they don’t know what it is? This is a serious subject: It’s about the salvation of mankind! Herbert W. Armstrong described God’s Kingdom in detail in the seventh and final chapter of his greatest book, Mystery of the Ages: Mystery of the Kingdom of God.
Revealer of Secrets
“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15).
To be saved, we must believe the gospel that Christ taught. He went everywhere preaching the Kingdom of God, even after His resurrection (Acts 1:3). He really wanted His disciples to understand this message!
How important is the true gospel to us? The Apostle Paul pronounced a double curse on any man or spirit being who would dare to preach any other gospel besides the true gospel of the Kingdom of God! (Galatians 1:8-9). We can’t afford to take the gospel lightly.
The Prophet Daniel recorded a crucial prophecy about God’s Kingdom. He wrote his biblical book for this end time (Daniel 12:4, 9). The Babylonians took him and the rest of Judea captive in 585 b.c. While in Babylon, Daniel served King Nebuchadnezzar. One night, the king had a dream. His magicians, astrologers and sorcerers could not tell him the meaning of it, but Daniel could.
“But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. …” (Daniel 2:28). Daniel made sure to give God all the credit for understanding Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. God is a Revealer of secrets. He has always ruled the Earth and the universe. He orchestrates events to fulfill His plan, even if it means the angels and mankind must learn the hard way the perils of rebellion.
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is a prophecy relevant to our time. The king saw a statue symbolizing five world-ruling empires, the first four of which are kingdoms of men: Babylon (head of gold), Persia (breast and arms of silver), Greco-Macedonia (belly and thighs of brass), and Rome (legs of iron, feet of iron and clay).
“This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory” (verses 36-37). Nebuchadnezzar was the supreme king on Earth during the time. He was the first real ruler over a real world empire.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (verse 44).
These kings refers to the 10 toes, part iron and part brittle clay. By connecting Daniel 2 with Daniel 7, Revelation 13 and Revelation 17, we know that these 10 kings represent the new 10-nation United States of Europe now forming out of the European Union. It is ready to burst on the world scene and become a superpower almost overnight. It will shock the world and start World War iii.
In Chapter 7 of Mystery of the Ages, Mr. Armstrong wrote:
Now here we have described four universal world empires—the only four that ever existed! Revelation 13 and 17 show that, after the fall of the original Roman Empire, there would be ten revivals—seven of which would be ruled over by a gentile church—the “daughter” of ancient Babylon—a church claiming to be Christian, but actually named by God “Mystery Babylon the great”—or, more plainly, Babylonian Mysteries!
Six of those have come and gone. The seventh is now forming—the last, final, brief resurrection of the Roman Empire by ten European groups or nations. These are revealed in Daniel 2 as the ten toes of iron and clay mixed.
There have been four world-ruling empires. Daniel’s prophecy came true, proving the veracity of the Bible.
The Fifth Kingdom
The fifth kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is symbolized by a stone falling from heaven and smashing the statue (verse 34). This is the Kingdom of God! Christ will return to smash the evil Holy Roman Empire so it may never rise again. Under His rule, there will be no more pain, suffering, tears or curses. This is the gospel, the good news, of the coming Kingdom of God! The kingdoms of this world are about to end forever.
“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
Christ will rule with His government and law forever. This Kingdom will never be destroyed. It will consume all other kingdoms. He came to Earth the first time to qualify to replace Satan on Earth’s throne. He will replace Satan when He comes the second time. He was born to become a King! (John 18:37).
God’s Kingdom will be a real, literal world empire. It is not some ethereal sentiment of the mind. It will have literal rulers just like Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, Persia under Cyrus the Great, Greece under Alexander the Great, and Rome under Caesar.
But the rulers in God’s Kingdom will not be human beings. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50). Rulers in this Kingdom must be born as spirit beings. All who have been called by God before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ—prophets and a few kings in the Old Testament, ministers and members in the New Testament, and God’s loyal people through the ages since the first century—will be born into the Kingdom of God and begin rule over all the Earth when Christ returns.
“The Kingdom of God will rule over the peoples and nations of the Earth,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “Yet these mortal peoples and nations will NOT be the kingdom, not even in the Kingdom of God. They shall be merely ruled over by it!”
Billions of people have lived and died without ever understanding the Kingdom of God. They will have a chance in the resurrection. But today, the world is deceived. The Kingdom of God is a mystery. God has allowed Satan to reign over the Earth for 6,000 years because Adam and Eve chose death in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3; Deuteronomy 30:19). Mankind has learned the wrong way to live ever since, cut off from God.
But Christ will change all that during the seventh 1,000-year period when He takes over the Earth and rules with a rod of iron. All people with an open mind will have an opportunity to receive the Holy Spirit and to enter the God Family. Most will choose life.
We must realize that Satan has led the world astray for 6,000 years, making necessary Christ’s intervention to prevent mankind from destroying itself (Matthew 24:21-22). The churches don’t teach this!
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. … And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:2, 4; see also Micah 4:1, 3).
God will rule! War will be a thing of the past. Men search in vain for peace today. They will never find it because they won’t let God guide them.
“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the [creation] was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:19-22).
The universe is in a state of decay because of Satan’s rebellion. It is dead, but God will soon bring it to life. After taking over the Earth, Christ and His Bride will go out into the universe to beautify it and to cause everlasting joy!